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Chariots of Fire (1992) [Import]
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The come-from-behind winner of the 1981 Oscar for best picture, Chariots of Fire either strikes you as either a cold exercise in mechanical manipulation or as a tale of true determination and inspiration. The heroes are an unlikely pair of young athletes who ran for Great Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics: devout Protestant Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a divinity student whose running makes him feel closer to God, and Jewish Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), a highly competitive Cambridge student who has to surmount the institutional hurdles of class prejudice and anti-Semitism. There's delicious support from Ian Holm (as Abrahams's coach) and John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson as a couple of Cambridge fogies. Vangelis's soaring synthesized score, which seemed to be everywhere in the early 1980s, also won an Oscar. Chariots of Fire was the debut film of British television commercial director Hugh Hudson (Greystoke) and was produced by David Puttnam. --Jim Emerson
Top Customer Reviews
I am glad that I have a wide screen edition of this DVD, however this is a region 3 and cannot play in a regular DVD player, as they play only the region 1 version. It is similar to the version released in UK. Even this version does not have a good audio and video transfer. There are dots in the video and the audio should be better considering the outstanding score by Vangelis. The widescreen edition is farbetter than the one released in US though. I am sad that they are not releasing this one here. I got this one in US through another website, thanks to my enhanced DVD player. So, I would give 5 stars for the movie and 4 stars for the transfer (I am being very generous here).
I saw this in the theater when it first came out and was very pleasantly surprised. It's a true story with a great message that still plays like Rocky with a brain -- exciting, funny, dramatic, well-acted, beautifully photographed. Unfortunately, not everyone will like it, though, because it brings back the days when drama meant dialogue, subtlety and intelligence, not explosions, predictable plots and computer-generated imagery. You have to watch and listen and have an appreciation of history. You can't watch this one and be distracted. Best to watch when you have time and can savor the moments, not when you have a room full of children, for instance.
And the acting, the costumes, the sets and background scenes - every bit of it was elegant and satisfying.
I give Chariots of Fire five stars, wishing I could rate it much, much higher.
Chariots Of Fire arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.78:1 encode. A lot of this film was purposefully shot in diffuse light with soft focus, and that may lead some to believe that this transfer is less than exceptional. It isn't. David Watkin's gorgeous cinematography, which more often than not utilized natural lighting schemes, is presented without any noticeable digital tweaking. Grain remains natural. In most cases, this incredibly sharp and pleasing transfer offers abundant fine detail and strong contrast, giving it a commendable filmic appearance. (4.5/5)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track supplies clear, nicely nuanced sound that captures all the atmosphere of this rousing and poetic film. Wide dynamic range allows highs to flourish without risking distortion and lows to achieve proper weight without lumbering heaviness. Surround activity is unfortunately limited. The Vangelis score radiates with pulsating power and searing grace as it effortlessly swirls across every channel. The Gilbert & Sullivan music also sounds hearty and robust. (4.5/5)
Chariots Of Fire was the surprising winner of Best Picture Oscar in 1982. Other winners include Best Original Score (Vangelis), Best Screenplay and Best Costume Design. It was also nominated for Best Director (Hugh Hudson), Best Supporting Actor (Ian Holm) and Best Film Editing. Surprisingly, the Number 1 hit Titles, the famous title theme to the movie, was not nominated for Best Original Song. Maybe because there is no singing? I wonder.
Chariots of Fire is attractively packaged in a 40-page lavishly illustrated Warner digibook with embossed lettering and a slightly raised and textured reproduction of the Olympic flame on the cover.Read more ›
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